Reviewing a Stephen King made for TV movie is a very tender thing and there are a lot of angles to think about. So I want to make my stance on King’s films clear before I get into my thoughts on the film. I absolutely loved IT and the TV version of The Shining, but when it came to Storm of the Century, Rose Red and The Stand– I hated them. So going into Salem’s Lot, I was pretty skeptical and excited at the same time.
After watching Mikael Salomon’s TV remake of Salem’s Lot, I couldn’t help but compare The Soprano’s to the Stephen King’s TV movies. There’s always this great level of anticipation, and everyone is giving it so much attention- it makes you feel like you’re about to witness something extraordinary- only it always manages to disappoint on some level.
Salem’s Lot is King’s vicious take on the perfect All-American community, Rob Lowe plays Ben Mears, a journalist who returns to his hometown (Jerusalem’s Lot) to research the mysteries surrounding the memories that have haunted him since his childhood. The close-held secrets of small-town life turn into unimaginable terror when a mysterious stranger arrives in town and ultimately reveals himself to be a vampire looking to sink his teeth into a new home.
All of the reviews I’ve read keep saying how this movie needed to be over three hours long to fully explore the tale, but I felt it was way too much. Usually I’m a big fan of character building but an hour and a half of getting to know the community was just way too much, and didn’t help any in the long run. If I were to recommend anything to you, it would be to watch the second part, which airs on June 21st.
The second half of the film was filled with great effects, a nice amount of blood, and strong performances by the lead characters. The FX were pretty amazing, when a vampire would die, they were burn up and explode through the ceiling, which was a new and unique way of killing them. The effects where the vampires moved around at a rapid pace was cool too. I also loved their eyes, they had this green tinted glow that made them quite disturbing. To go along with the great FX, the strong performances helped make this into a better movie.
Rob Lowe is always amazing, Rutger Haur, who plays the vampire Kurt Barlow, was phenomenal and one of my favorite actors of all time- Donald Sutherland, who plays Richard Straker- was even better. But the rest of the cast was TV horrible, the acting was something you’d see on Days of Our Lives. It also didn’t help any that the dialogue was horrendous! There were at least four occasions where I wanted to burst out and laugh. One of the characters was laying motionless is his teachers guest room and Rob Lowe came in to check it out and says, “I think he’s G’d out on some designer drug…”- give me a freaking break! I wish I had a pen and paper handy because I’d love to tell you the other great lines.
But then again, it’s a made for TV movie, and it is a Sephen King flick, and they all seem to be the same on some level. Although it had it’s problems, the second half was quite entertaining, and I enjoyed it enough to recommend it to some non-King fans. But if you love Stephen King TV movies, you are going to absolutely LOVE this movie.
Check it out Sunday, June 20th at 8 ET and Monday, June 21st at 8 ET.